Future of cohousing and developers
From: Eric D. Hart (erichartmtn.org)
Date: Sat, 27 Jul 1996 23:36:46 -0500
        Just thought I would give my opinion on the topic of how cohousing
gets developed.  Clearly, the present 'do it yourself' model of cohousing
development doesn't meet the needs of the people who suffer through this
model or those who want to live in cohousing.  My thinking has completely
flip flopped from thinking that it was good that people develop their own
communities to thinking that some sort of entity (besides the group itself)
needs to develop the community.  I would feel far more satisfied if I spent
a few years with a group of people *creating community* and bonds between
people than if I spent that same time worrying about financing and code
variances.  Being a developer is no fun if your goal is to be in a group of
people that is trying to create more of a sense of community and caring
amongst their neighbors.  Seems like cohousing groups hardly ever attain
their affordability and environmental goals because they are too exhausted
to try and take on one more thing during development.  Both these things
need to be designed into the community from the beginning, something which
most cohousing groups don't know (because they aren't in the architectural
and development business). 
        That said, I wouldn't necessarily give development responsibilities
over to the traditional developers that are out there now.  Most developers
don't have a clue about environmental issues around development and
construction so if you choose to be part of their cohousing development, you
just get the same old unsustainable practices.  I'm not willing to live in
unhealthy tract housing put up by a developer in suburbia, even if it is in
a cohousing community.  What the Community Eco-design Network is trying to
do is create sustainable developments which include houses that are more
environmentally sensitive.  Rather than wait for mainstream developers to do
this sort of thing or for people to get organized and demand this sort of
thing, we are hoping to provide it as a turn key kind of development.  This
is our ultimate goal that we hope to be at in 3-5 years (hopefully sooner).
Between now and then, we are working on a low cost building system and
components of a sustainable development such as greenhouses and greenhouse

Eric D. Hart                    *We do strawbale construction workshops!
Community Eco-design Network    *Call  (612) 305-2899  for more information  
Minneapolis, MN  USA            * Check out our WWW page:       
erichart [at] mtn.org                   



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